NEW ORLEANS -- Maple Street Book Shop isn’t ready to write its final chapter just yet.
The independent Uptown bookseller was set to close its doors Saturday, but that has been extended another month, until July 29 after a surge of sales from people wanting to make one last purchase propped up the business for a little while longer.
“As soon as I announced the closing, business doubled,” said Gladin Scott, a longtime customer who bought the shop in 2004.
The decision to keep the store open longer is the latest extension of the 53-year-old business whose mission has been to “Fight the Stupids.”
Scott first announced in 2015 that he would close the shop due to slumping sales. But much like today, a rush of customers led him to keep the doors open a little bit long -- even putting off another prior announced closing date.
“To be honest, because business had been so bad, I really didn’t know if people cared anymore,” Scott said Friday.
Asked if he might once again try to extend the store’s life beyond July 29, Scott said he’s not spoken to the landlord about staying past that date.
In the meantime, though, Scott said he’s ordering small numbers of new releases and best sellers each week. “Only enough to sell what we sold the previous week.”
Scott said he first visited the store in the 1960s when he was 17 years old in search of a copy of the Village Voice newspaper. “I wanted to know what was going on in the world.”
He retired in 2007 from his job selling home entertainment systems and began to work as a manager at the shop, which he bought four years ago.
“That one visit, I was hooked,” he said. “I just thought Maple Street Book Shop was the greatest place in the world.”
He said most customers like the unique atmosphere of a book store that isn’t part of a chain.
It’s bittersweet at the store these days, Scott said, as longtime and new customers come in thinking they’re making a final visit but learning they have a little more time.
“It’s tough, especially with our longtime customers and customers who’ve grown up coming to the store,” he said. “It can be very emotional.”
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